116 | How to Build Brand Partnerships Organically: From Teacher to Creative Business Owner – The Sara McDaniel Story

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Have you ever dreamt of transitioning from a conventional job to a life of creative entrepreneurship? In this latest episode of “Creatives on Fire,” I want to introduce you to Sara McDaniel, a remarkable creative business owner with a unique journey. Sarah’s story will inspire you to pursue your dreams and take bold steps toward your creative business success.

The Unexpected Creative Journey

Sara McDaniel’s journey to creative entrepreneurship was far from planned. She started her career as a classroom teacher and later transitioned into educational sales and leadership roles. However, life took an unexpected turn when she went through a divorce, propelling her into a new phase of her life.

Rediscovering Passion and Purpose

After her divorce, Sara faced a turning point. She heard a calling to move back to her hometown in Louisiana, a decision she initially resisted. However, an encounter with a neglected house in Minden, Louisiana, changed everything. Sara saw potential where others saw decay, and it marked the beginning of her creative journey.

From Neglected House to Creative Stardom

Sara started a blog and social media account called “Simply Southern Cottage” to document her renovation journey. Little did she know that her passion for restoring old homes would resonate with people worldwide.

Her blog and social media presence skyrocketed in popularity, leading to features in magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and even an appearance on HGTV’s “Hometown Kickstart.”

In with the Old

Sara’s creative journey reached new heights when she embarked on renovating a massive 6000-square-foot Victorian house, an experience she documented for the Magnolia Network show “In with the Old.”

This exciting project showcases her dedication and expertise in turning neglected spaces into stunning homes.

Collaborating with Creatives

Collaboration has played a significant role in Sarah’s creative endeavors. She has teamed up with other bloggers and artists to create unique projects.

Her collaborations with Wendy Chair Whimsy, Brittany Atkinson Art, and Hayden Gregg have added layers of creativity to her work.

The Road to Working with Brands

Sara’s journey from teacher to creative business owner led to unexpected opportunities. Brands began noticing her authenticity and creativity, leading to collaborations with JCPenney, Martha Stewart, Home Chef, and more.

Her advice for working with brands is to showcase products organically and authentically, emphasizing the value they bring to her life.

Sara’s entrepreneurial spirit extended to product creation. She partnered with Orian Rugs to create a collection inspired by her “Simply Southern Cottage” brand.

These rugs can be found on various online platforms, making her creative touch accessible to a wider audience.

Staying Consistent and Authentic

Consistency is key in Sara’s daily routine. She maintains a strong presence on social media, using Instagram stories to engage with her audience daily.

While her Instagram feed is consistent, she avoids being overly sales-oriented, prioritizing authenticity and value for her followers.

The Drive for Freedom and Flexibility

What keeps Sara motivated every day is her desire for freedom and flexibility. She cherishes her life’s independence and the ability to make choices that align with her passions.

This drive fuels her commitment to creative entrepreneurship.

Tune in to “In with the Old”

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness Sara McDaniel’s incredible journey on the Magnolia Network show “In with the Old.”

The episode “Minden’s Mysterious Yellow House” airs this Wednesday, November 8th at 9:00 PM Central Time. You can stream it on Discovery Plus or HBO Max.

Sara McDaniel’s journey from teacher to creative business owner is a testament to the power of passion, authenticity, and determination. Her story reminds us that it’s never too late to pursue our creative dreams and turn them into successful ventures.

Whether you’re seeking inspiration or contemplating your entrepreneurial path, Sara’s story is a beacon of hope and possibility in the world of creative business.

Connect with Sara McDaniel


I am honored to share a new Blogging Creative on Fire each week on the podcast to bring you inspiration, behind-the-scenes secrets, and quality tips. I hope it is truly helpful for you. One of the best ways you can bless me in return is to subscribe to the show and leave a review. By subscribing, you allow each episode to be downloaded straight to your phone which helps the download numbers and ensures you never miss an episode. And when you leave a review, you help show others the value of what we provide! You can GO HERE to subscribe and review!

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